Episode 69: Rage Phase
Published November 10, 2016.
Aminatou: Welcome to Call Your Girlfriend.
Ann: A podcast for long-distance besties everywhere.
Aminatou: I'm Aminatou Sow.
Ann: And I'm Ann Friedman.
Aminatou: [Sighs] Big sigh.
Ann: I just want to ask how you're taking care of yourself today. That's the thing that I want to . . . it's like how I want to start. I want to like hear about the nice things you're doing for yourself.
Aminatou: Okay, I . . . first of all I will say this: having many of my closest friends ask me how I was doing today is the best part of the day. And just being reminded of how well-known and loved I am, and that has made a huge difference for me. Here's what I've done today: I finally dedicated to double-cleansing my face because people with beautiful skin always tell you you have to wash twice. I did that today.
Ann: Wait, is that like with two different cleansers?
Aminatou: Yes, it's like you do it with an oil one and then with a soap one. Ladies . . .
Ann: And this isn't a ruse to get you to buy more products?
Aminatou: 100% but also Japanese women look beautiful. [Laughs]
Aminatou: So I did that, I deep conditioned my hair, I went for a walk, and I cried a lot today. I fully sobbed. But you know what? It was like 3 p.m. I remembered that I had had nothing to eat also and so I ate and drank water and instantly felt better. [Laughs]
Ann: What is the hangry equivalent of like . . .
Aminatou: Of sad?
Ann: Sad, yeah.
Aminatou: Sangry? I don't know.
Aminatou: What is it?
Ann: Hungry, sad, I don't know.
Aminatou: Hungry, sad. It was just like . . .
Aminatou: It was crazy. I'm just like alternating between deep sadness and deep rage also which the rage has been good. It's like once I moved on from being sad and I started getting angry I was like yes, we're cycling through the grief. [Laughs]
Ann: Oh man, I haven't hit rage phase yet, although I just poured myself a very adult-sized glass of tequila and I'm hoping that helps me get there. [Laughs]
Aminatou: Yeah. Well, why are we so sad Ann?
Ann: Oh, okay, well America had an election this week. It was a presidential election that was fairly important in which a fascistic, sentient Cheeto was running against a very accomplished, motivated woman who wants to make the world a better place. And guess who won Amina?
Aminatou: [Sighs] We are never saying his name on this podcast.
Ann: You can't Voldemort him though.
Aminatou: We already did. We already did. Not saying his name. It's the only thing that'll make me feel better is if I never say his name.
Ann: All right. All right.
Aminatou: Hearing Obama today at the press conference call him like President-Elect Ivanka's Dad, that's when everything hit me and I couldn't handle it.
Ann: I know. Like his name on Obama's lips, the worst.
Aminatou: It was -- I was like no way. So yeah, the election's over. Hillary Clinton lost. I'm gutted. That's the appropriate word.
Aminatou: And, you know, but I'm also just electioned out, you know? This has been going . . . I remember when people started announcing that they were running. That was almost two years ago. And so we've been on this train for two years and it ended just like that yesterday and some things are terrible. It was really awful to see all of the just gains of the Republican Party because they've been repressing votes in so many states.
Ann: Yeah. Did you see the map of states where voting rights act provisions were rolled back . . .
Ann: And states that were flipped to be Republican states this year. It's like huh, the map lines up pretty closely.
Aminatou: Yeah, shocker, shocker. It's like places like North Carolina, you make it hard for people of color to vote and then the white turnout increases and it's really crazy.
Ann: Yeah. Like what happens when you close early voting options and really restrict the ways that people can cast a vote? Like gee, I wonder what happens?
Aminatou: I know, you know? But I've been in a really reflective mood today and I think that for me at least it's two very pervasive feelings. One is just this we now quantifiably know how much America hates women. It's like we have numbers behind that and it's deeply troubling and it's so sad. And two, this was the feeling that I had in the pit of my stomach the whole time that Obama was president is that it was too good to be true and a backlash was coming because history shows us that that's what happens, and that was it. And it was really crazy. It's like here's a president that's probably going to go down as the president with the best approval rating we've ever had and his party couldn't hold on to that victory. That's going to be crazy. It parallels and mirrors so many things that happened during reconstruction. It is so sad. It's also so devastating that Hillary Clinton won that popular vote. People are like "Well, the country is deeply divided and blah, blah, blah." It's like no, no, she actually won the popular vote. We have this arcane electoral college thing. Not even going to argue that right now, but that's . . .
Ann: I was like wow, are we really going to go there?
Aminatou: Not going there. Not going there. But you know it was just really heartening to know. It's like no, she carried the popular vote but she did not run for these very obvious and disturbing demographic reasons. And obviously we're going to see post-mortems and the bloodletting with leftists is going to be crazy and intense. There's going to be all this finger-pointing. But at the end of the day it's like some of us did a lot and that was not enough.
Ann: Yeah. And I also think, you're right, that there are all of the analysis of exit polls and who turned out to vote and who didn't. Most of that stuff is not really out yet. But I think that in terms of the things that -- I mean, yes, we know for example that 53% of white women voted for a man who has admitted to abusing women on tape. That's a thing that happened. That's how much white women are scared of non-white people gaining any kind of political power in America.
Aminatou: I know.
Ann: Setting that aside though, all of those numbers that we have yet to see come out and all of that drill-down that has yet to come out, I'm like a lot of the things that we know are going on here and undercurrents that we feel in all of this aren't going to be captured by those numbers anyway. You can poll someone on why didn't you like Hillary Clinton? Or why didn't you find her presidential or whatever? But it's not like people check a box that says yes, entrenched sexism. Even though I'm a woman I have preconceived notions of what I expect powerful women to be or what I expect in terms of perfection. I'm going to read all that stuff when it comes out too but in a way it's like we know sort of the tenor of the conversation around her and we know the tenor of the conversation around her opponent. And I don't know, reading between the lines is not the right metaphor but we can see what's happening. We see what happened.
Aminatou: Oh my god. I want to go back to this white woman thing because I was not surprised that what it . . . right now I think it says definitely over 50% of white women voted for that man. And the thing about it that is crazy is I'm not surprised but it really hurts and also it is just -- like I don't know where we start to change this. We've said on this podcast many times, or I have at least, politically you can't trust white women for shit. Like this is basically . . . [Laughs]
Ann: And that's been true in many past elections I should say. Like yeah.
Aminatou: It's true in every single election.
Aminatou: You know what I mean? So this is not a departure.
Aminatou: It's like this is right on the money. This is exactly what happens.
Ann: But I guess it's noteworthy because there has not been a departure even when this is the sort of candidate Republicans are fielding.
Aminatou: Totally. And this is something -- you know, it just goes to show how entrenched and internalized misogyny can be. This is the same conversation we had around Brexit, right? It's like oh my god, you hate brown people and black people and women so much that you're voting against your own interests. It's not in any woman's best interest to have this person as president, like any woman, no matter how conservative she is.
Aminatou: And yet here we are. And I don't know what that says about us as a society but also I'm really tired of it. It is just really, really, really exhausting to be -- to try to trust people and to really believe that they want what's best for you but also to wake up in a country that you realize just hates you and hates your values. That is really tough.
Ann: Yeah. And I mean it should be said too this is not a defense of women who -- white women who didn't vote for Hillary, because let's be real, all the women who didn't vote for Hillary were pretty much white women.
Ann: Like those numbers were quite high among women of color. So not a judgment against them but it's one of those things where I'm sure that those women were not like "I think women are not capable of being president." You know what I mean? It's like I'm sure -- and this is kind of what I was saying before -- yeah, it's a deep, internalized misogyny of like oh, I just hate her voice or I hate the fact that she's been around for so long or that she was first lady. And it's like I'm sorry, do you see any other paths to the White House at this point? Realistically do you see other peers of hers that we are not considering for this job who don't have these supposed drawbacks? I don't know. I see a lot of that in the same way that women kind of internalize the society's demands for perfection on themselves.
Ann: I see that externalized towards Hillary particularly but towards women candidates more generally. And that's something that happens -- I don't know, I think that's something that happens among women who didn't end up ultimately voting for Trump either. I think that was a dominant emotion of the primary and a conversation that I had throughout with people who were never, ever going to vote for a Republican candidate no matter what.
Aminatou: Yeah. You know, I don't know. For me at least it just stings so much too because it was never a "This candidate is the lesser of two evils." I'm like no, she's fucking qualified. [Laughs]
Ann: I know.
Aminatou: This candidate is amazing. Like in what world . . .
Ann: There is only one evil here.
Aminatou: Right. In what world is it a demerit to be a first lady? It's like she runs a foundation that helps tens of millions of people around the world. I think back about for me all of these conversations that I had with women who at the beginning of the election were really tepid about "Oh, I don't like her. I don't trust her emails." All of that stuff. And there's a part of me that's like fuck you, this is your fault, because none of that is true. It's so crazy to have lived through an election that was not rooted in truth. We chased this email story forever. Turns out there was nothing there twice. And the person who is going to the White House has deep mob ties, he's an actual lunatic, is unqualified. This is terrifying. Like I said I'm at the rage stage so a lot of things are not making sense but it's okay.
Ann: Well, the thing -- I know it hasn't quite tipped me there yet but I can tell you the thing that is going to fully tip me into the rage stage once I hit the bottom of this glass of tequila probably, or maybe in a few hours, we'll see, I don't know how long my personal grief cycle is related to this election, the number of people who I know who were very, very vocal in conversations with friends and on social media about sharing news about how bad Ivanka's dad is or the obsessive 538 refreshers. I know we've talked about that. Who actually didn't do anything tangible to try to influence the outcome of this election.
Ann: Because I definitely notice a pattern, and that is the people with the most sort of racial and gender privilege and wealth I would say are the people who are like "This is awful," and continue to just post about it without doing anything about the election. And I think that -- you know, I don't want to get into a game of could everybody do more? Like yes.
Aminatou: The answer is always yes. Do more than you were doing, always, in everything.
Ann: The answer is yes, but I do think that it's notable when I think about some of the people who I know who were expressing some of the most dejected sentiments last night and who had been very, like I said, super, super clued into the election and very, very worried about the possibility that Hillary would lose didn't actually take any steps to try to make that happen. And I think that for me is a real lesson from this election, which is not to say that apathy wasn't a problem in previous elections, but I'm like you know what? Next time around I know for me I'm going to be a lot more vocal in being like "Hey, what are you doing?" Like every time I see another post that is from someone who I kind of know to be just hanging out and fretting, like what are you doing? And I know that we talked about this in previous episodes for sure but that is a thing that I do feel angry about because quite frankly my friends with a lot to lose this election were the most practically active people in trying to get . . .
Aminatou: Yeah, tell me about it.
Aminatou: We're out here knocking on doors. We're out here putting our thoughts on the line and just our persons and it's crazy. It's just so . . . I'm rage stage, full mode. This is a feeling of there are a lot of people that I cannot look in the eye right now and probably we will all trace it back to this election.
Ann: I don't know. I keep coming back to the fact too that I think that's an important point to make because I also think the amount of work that's going to have to be done in the next four years that is related to doing what's possible to make up for horrible decisions that this president and Congress are going to make, so many things are going to fall to non-profits, to local services, to the sorts of places that are already struggling and under-funded and strapped for help. And you know, I don't know. That's sort of my focus is to really have a hard conversation with people who did very, very little to influence the outcome of this election in practical terms and ask what they're going to do to help remedy the . . . or help lessen the damage I guess.
Aminatou: Yeah, you know, all of that is true. I think too for me one thing that really tipped me over fully into rage is hearing from so many white people today like "Oh, I could've done more," like the people who actually acknowledged it. And just being like yes, that's true, but also I don't know what you're looking at your friends of color to say because all we're thinking is welcome to our world. It's been the apocalypse forever. [Laughs] And so just realizing that if you are a liberal person who's shocked and stunned by this it's probably because you've been living in a bubble of privilege for a long time. For a lot of people things have been really bad for a long time and you're not paying attention. But also I just notice also a huge pattern of disengaging from your family from back home or the people that you know who would've voted with an outcome that we did not like. This is a conversation that we've had on this podcast before. People are like "What do I do about my [insert relative] who believes XYZ?" It's easy for them to have empathy for those people, for the people who are in their families, and not for people who actually have been suffering.
So if this is the wakeup call that you need it sucks that it is on the backs of people who have suffered a lot already but hopefully this will spur a lot of people to action and to change. Like I know for a fact that I just . . . I'm ready to put my head down and work and double down on the things that I believe in because that's not going away. I hear all these people like "I'm moving to Canada," and I'm like good riddance, I'm not fucking going anywhere. This is where I live. [Laughs]
Ann: Yeah. Yeah, totally. No one's moving.
Aminatou: Listen, but you know what I mean? That's a common white people whine is "We're going to XYZ." And I'm like fine, go. But we live here and there's an election in literally two years where your voice is needed again and a lot of stuff has to change.
But on the upside there are really concrete, small ways that you can help. Like you asked me earlier what I was doing to take care of myself. I wrote big checks to non-profits and organizations that I really believe in. I'm donating to the ACLU for the first time and I feel really good about that. I'm going to give more money to Planned Parenthood because that matters a lot. Reproductive rights are . . . my god. It's crazy.
Aminatou: Yeah. It's crazy what could happen. So there's a time to be sad and to grieve, but honestly here's the thing: these fights aren't going away. We knew that. We've had the most liberal president we'll ever have and a lot of these rights were under attack so that's not a surprise. It just means that we have to double down and work harder.
Ann: It's true. And I want to go back to something you said too about empathy for hypothetical Republican voters who maybe are in your extended family or people that white people know from growing up somewhere that wasn't a liberal enclave and having that empathy but not being able to fully empathize with people who have been frankly under full-out attack in America. In recent history, yes, but for a really long time.
And, you know, I don't know. I've been thinking about that when it's all these Paul Ryan and Obama and all of these speeches in the wake of the results and "Oh, the divided America." I get really sick about that because it's like okay, the divide -- I mean, yeah, there is sort of a political gulf between family members who have different worldviews, right? Or who are maybe openly racist versus sort of the kind of racist we all are. That is a divide that exists, like the classic two Americas divide.
But there's also just this divide of yeah, so even though we are all voting for the same candidate, even though we both want to see Hillary Clinton win, the total gulf between understanding of the stakes and lived experience is a just as noteworthy divide that is usually not talked about in that same kind of divided America shorthand but is so, so real. So apologies if that's redundant to what you just said, but I don't know, that turn of phrase now means something totally different to me.
Aminatou: No, it's true. Well, you know, all is not lost. There was still some very good news and some signs of progress in the night and so maybe we can spend some time talking about that because that makes me feel a lot better.
Ann: Definitely. So the overall number of women in Congress is going to stay the same as of January but women of color had a really good night in Congress.
Aminatou: Yeah, quadrupled our presence in the Senate which is really exciting.
Ann: Yeah. Yes, and also can we talk about the Senate is a pool from which we pick future presidential candidates so very, very important.
Aminatou: Hell yeah. So let's see who had a good night in the Senate? Kamala Harris, favorite and friend of the podcast.
Ann: [Laughs] Are we preemptively friend of the podcasting her?
Aminatou: No, we're like -- no, Kamala Harris is a friend of the podcast. Hello?
Ann: Interview list 2K17.
Aminatou: Hello? Totally, yeah, that was really good. She was a California attorney general and she won her race which is exciting. Tammy Duckworth kicked some serious butt.
Ann: Oh my god, so much butt.
Aminatou: Love. Ugh, love Tammy Duckworth so, so, so hard. Catherine Cortez Masto from Nevada also.
Ann: First Latina senator ever.
Aminatou: I know. Beat the heck out of Joe Heck. Hello?
Aminatou: So exciting!
Ann: And there's also Oregon has the first openly LGBT governor in US history. Good job, Oregon. What else? Oh, Minnesota has the nation's first Somali-American lawmaker.
Aminatou: I know, shout out.
Ann: Who happens to be a woman. Hey!
Aminatou: I know! Very exciting. California really did its part, legalized weed, sending a woman to the Senate, delivered 55 electoral college votes. Thank you California.
Ann: It's true.
Aminatou: Some states pull their weight; some states do not. But you know what? It's fine.
Ann: Yeah. Anyway, so I don't know. In many ways I'm celebrating the victories for these women as pipeline victories because with both houses of Congress having a Republican majority and we all know what's happening in the Orange House as I'm going to call it from now on . . .
Aminatou: [Laughs] The Orange House. To make me laugh on this day. Literally only two days have made me laugh today and that is one of them. Thank you.
Ann: You know what? I made a fart joke to someone earlier and she was like I can't believe I'm laughing so hard at this.
Ann: And I was like you know what? You really have to go back to the basics of humor on a day like this. Zero. Zero. Ground level. Anyway, so it's a tough environment for these women. I don't really know how much amazing legislation they're going to be able to pass. However it's like remember their names, support their campaigns, think about them when someone is like "Oh, but there's no one left after Hillary and Elizabeth Warren." These are women to watch.
Aminatou: That's right. Ugh, it's going to be so good. I just got depressed all over again when you said something and then I don't even remember what it was so it's fine.
Ann: Oh, about how they're not going to be able to pass any legislation? [Laughs]
Aminatou: No, even more depressed than that but I don't remember. It just hit me in the gut then it went away. It's crazy. But I've been having that all day. It's like I saw a picture of RBG and it was like shit, the Supreme Court. I haven't even thought about that.
Ann: Oh my god, I know.
Aminatou: Yeah, I know, it's like everything. Then I saw pictures and went shit, reproductive rights, what are we going to do about that?
Ann: It really comes in waves doesn't it?
Aminatou: Yeah, it just comes in waves. It's like the devastation, it's a lot. Oh, here's what hit me is when you said the Senate and the House are controlled by Republicans. I'm like yes, the Orange House, the Senate, and the House. That hasn't happened since right before the Great Depression. Ugh.
Ann: Yeah, the shocking coincidence of that happening right . . .
Aminatou: Right before the great recession. It's like these things, this is not a good pattern.
Aminatou: Oh boy.
Ann: So maybe we should talk about -- okay, so you said that you were donating to the ACLU. How we are thinking about . . . what is our action plan for the Orange House years?
Aminatou: Listen, our action plan is that if you're a person who looks in the mirror and says "I could've done more," instead of trying to make people feel sorry for you, yes, you could've absolutely done more. We can always do more. Focus on the things that matter to you. If you care about reproductive rights, research that, give money to it. If you care about civil liberties, research, money, and give to that. We're really lucky that a couple of websites actually today made some great lists. If you go to Jezebel or Racked where I work now there are great ways . . .
Ann: I'm trying to find things to celebrate today. A new job is a good thing to celebrate.
Aminatou: I know! Totally. Racked is a great shopping website and today instead of telling you where to spend your money buying shoes and clothes it's like here's where to spend your money towards things that really matter and make a difference if you're feeling really gutted like some of us. So there are some great organizations on here like the Council on American/Islamic Relations, CAIR, they're awesome; the Cleveland Refugee Bike Project; the Center for Reproductive Rights; Earth Justice; Emily's List. And really look at things that are local to you because a lot of those local non-profits and local chapters of organizations are really going to suffer when the money starts drying up nationally.
Ann: Totally. And I sort of have a process suggestion for this because I was thinking about the things that recently in the past year of my life but more generally have made me move from like "Oh, I'm angry about this and I'm texting someone about it," to I am actively doing a thing to change it. And for me it's like a common denominator really is a friend or the idea that I've made a commitment with someone who shares my values and we together, we're going to go to that action or we are going to do a little DIY thing to try to raise money for this or we're both going to give independently every day for a year or every month for a year.
I mean right now everyone wants to be in community with the people who are also hurting in the wake of this election and it's like okay, what happens when you put all these people in a room and everyone starts spiraling about how terrible everything is going to be for the next four years? It's like I would say get concrete. If you're worried about reproductive rights, if you're worried about civil liberties, decide something that you are all worried about and then just say how can we collectively do a thing?
Ann: Like trust that it is not that hard to Google and be like what are the reputable organizations who work on this issue that all of us have decided in this room is important? And how can our skills/money/time be used to advance this thing we care about? And then how can we commit to it? Can we commit to for the first -- can we commit to it for 2017? Can we commit to do it for four years? I don't know. I think that I have found so much community in taking action on stuff that I care about that that feels like a real need people have, community, and it's like marrying it with action.
Aminatou: Yeah. It's like finding community and you know the community is what's going to build accountability. You need accountability to do these things every single day, and to just watch them change. Also every single penny matters. If you're sitting there and you're saying like "I can't afford this," total respect. But a dollar is a dollar. This is still America. If you have a dollar to give that dollar matters.
Ann: Yeah. I think that there's the thing too where people work on staff at these organizations, especially at the state and local branches, and if you're like "Hey, I'm here. I have no money but I really care about this issue," I mean there are lobbying days at the state level that are really important. If you don't believe that listen to my phone-a-friend with Katie Blair, a state-level maven. I mean there's definitely stuff that you can do that is about your time and you can have people who are experts on the issues you care about be like "Actually this is a great way to show up physically and to not make it a financial donation."
Aminatou: Totally. And showing up is so, so, so important. You know, I'm kind of excited about this. There is something really about just head-down work [Laughs] that women are really good at unfortunately. It's funny too. It's like all day, as I alternate between sadness and rage, I'm like oh, man, this is how Republicans felt for eight years. No wonder they're so angry, you know?
Ann: Worked up.
Aminatou: There's like the tiniest part of me that's like you know what? We're going to survive this. It's not going to be good but we're going to survive it and we're going to have our heads on our shoulders and there will be hard days and there will be hilarious days.
Ann: There might be fart jokes.
Aminatou: Yeah, there's probably going to be fart jokes.
Aminatou: But you know what? If our sin is working hard to do good for our neighbors and our family and our friends, then my god, lock all of us up.
Ann: It's true. And also rage is so productive and important. I'm just like I really want . . .
Aminatou: Yeah, that's literally how women have gotten everything done in this country.
Ann: Everything is rage-based. It is the fuel in the tank. So I am . . .
Aminatou: Yeah, we're like burn it down, we'll build it back up. [Laughs]
Ann: Emotional arson.
Aminatou: I know.
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Aminatou: Can we talk about HRC's speech today though? Her concession speech.
Ann: Oh my god, so . . .
Aminatou: I never use this word because it just like -- I feel like usually idiot people use it all the time but it was very classy. She just has so much grace, Ann.
Ann: I really . . . I got choked up a lot and very upset throughout the night but the dam broke when I was watching her speak. That was really when I lost it. I really lost it.
Aminatou: I can't believe her. My concession speech would be flipping a table and going "You get what you get, America."
Aminatou: Just get on a plane to the Bahamas with all my stolen money.
Ann: Like enjoy the abyss. Goodbye.
Aminatou: Yeah! It's just like boy, bye. You guys deserve this. I couldn't believe her. The speech was . . . we didn't deserve her. We just did not deserve her. It was too much. There was no bitterness. It was so inspiring, just talking about all the virtues of public service and fighting for what you believe in and inspiring young girls everywhere. I was sobbing.
Ann: Here is what made me cry. I've realized something about myself in terms of movies. If I'm not on an airplane, because if you're on an airplane you're crying at everything.
Aminatou: Yeah, scientific facts. Scientific facts.
Ann: It doesn't matter if you're the control group. It's science, yeah. But if I'm not on an airplane and I'm crying at a movie it's always because it's a scene of women triumphing.
Ann: Like I cry not at death scenes and not at love scenes. I cry when a woman character who has been some kind of underdog is getting . . .
Aminatou: Hits the baseball and wins.
Ann: Oh my god. Doesn't matter. Yeah, like sports movie. Oh my god, there's a scene in True Grit where she fords the river on a horse, like the young girl does, and I just like sobbed.
Aminatou: Oh my god.
Ann: Anyway, so when I started crying today at her speech I realized it was that kind of cry. Which is such an amazing thing to be like I'm crying my women triumphing cry at her concession speech.
Aminatou: I know. That was really hard to watch also in the context of so many things we've talked about. Like somebody who is so deserving.
Aminatou: Has put in, as Kanye says, the 10,000 hours. [Laughs] Just has been putting in the work. She's given her whole life to public service and to see her not get it, that was really . . . that's just a feeling that I think as women we understand a lot.
Aminatou: And that was really hard to watch at that level. I think that we've all had, in our own small ways, those heartaches. But to just watch it on that scale and just how invested we were, that was really tough to stomach.
Ann: I know. And also just like . . . I mean even though we know better at this age and Hillary definitely knows better that there is no inherent fairness. You know, just because you're the best candidate doesn't mean you win; just because you work hardest doesn't mean you win; just because you are the most-qualified and hardest-working and all of this stuff doesn't mean things turn out the way that they should. It just never gets easier to be reminded of that.
Aminatou: I know. I can tell you exactly the point in her speech where I lost it is when she said . . .
Aminatou: She said "You will have successes and setbacks too." That's when the dam broke.
Ann: I was on cry three by then. [Laughs]
Aminatou: It hadn't hit me how personal it was, you know? And anybody who listens to this podcast knows I've been in love with Hillary Clinton my whole life as a public figure and a feminist icon. That was really hard. But you know what? She did a lot for us. She did a lot for us and we are so much further than we thought we would be. And my god, it's going to work out.
Ann: Yeah, totally. And I don't know. I have to believe that for those of us who are very, very inspired by her work, yeah, who got choked up by that setbacks line because we all know how many times has she bounced back? Countless. Countless times. I would love to see a Hillary bounce back meter, like how many times.
Aminatou: Oh my god, Ann, undefeated.
Ann: One million. I know. For those of us who see that and respect that, I think that . . . I don't know, it's not a win, because let's be real, it's a loss. It's not a win. But there is something about that that has staying power and that will stay with women who are invested in her campaign and will stay with everyone who went with one of her parents to vote and will stay with everyone who put on a pantsuit. Yeah.
Aminatou: Yeah. Are you kidding? The first president of the United States, she watched that concession speech today and she got back to work, you know? And that to me -- that made me feel better. Ugh, it's going to be fine.
Aminatou: Can I tell you one thing though that has been really helpful for me?
Aminatou: Besides shopping my heart out and eating my heart out, is I've been listening on YouTube to all these Fanny Lou Hamer speeches.
Aminatou: And her testimony. It's a damn shame they don't teach Fanny Lou Hamer in schools, because . . .
Ann: I mean the system is rigged.
Aminatou: The system? My god, things I agree with. The system is rigged. [Laughs]
Ann: Remember that time you tried to tell me that it wasn't? [Laughs]
Aminatou: Listen, Ann, I was a fool. I was a fool. The system is rigged. Didi Colly (?) was right all along. They don't want you to win. They don't want you to be president.
Ann: They don't want you to find out about Fanny Lou Hamer.
Aminatou: Yeah, they don't want you to find out about Fanny Lou Hamer. Read up everything you can on Fanny Lou Hamer because she is such a G and I have always loved her and just today listening to her voice, even though it was so painful, was such a bomb.
Fanny: And you young people are going to have to help make this change because we can't continue the same way, expanding the war in Vietnam, killing the people over there, and people being shot down in the streets throughout this country sometimes in the name of law and order. I've been to jail and I've been beaten in jail until my body was hard as metal and I've been charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. And there's a lot of other young people throughout this country that have been beaten down. But I want you to know something in this audience today: A house divided against itself cannot stand. A nation divided against itself is on its way out. We are going to have to stand up and make demands that will make this country worthwhile.
Ann: Yeah, and read up about Shirley Chisholm and read up about all these other women who survived.
Aminatou: It's true. It's true, it's true, it's true. Ugh, yeah, best Fanny Lou Hamer line today is when she's like "Until I am free, you are not free either." And I thought about that a lot when I thought about my white friends. I was like listen, we are all in this together but you've got to do your part.
Aminatou: You've got to do your part. We're going to get there. The only silver lining for me, though, let me tell you, my outfit yesterday was flames.
Ann: Oh my god, I saw it. I saw it everywhere.
Ann: Okay, can we pause button? It was not just your outfit; it was like you did that kind of plum lip that was so good.
Aminatou: Oh, yeah. No, I looked good yesterday.
Ann: So good.
Aminatou: That's the thing also, on a personal note, if we're just going to talk about this, it's really painful to lose when you look that good. It's tough.
Ann: I mean I looked like shit yesterday and it was painful to lose.
Ann: So I don't really know if I buy this theory at all.
Aminatou: I saw your bob. You were wearing a bob and a turtleneck. You looked cute.
Ann: No, girl, that was archival footage. I was wearing like a t-shirt. I was wearing a stained t-shirt and jeans. It was everything I could do to keep it together because I was worried and busy and working and whatever. No, no, that was archival bob footage where my swoop happened to mirror Hillary's swoop.
Aminatou: Oh, I thought it was taken yesterday. No, it was so good. Because I also . . . like I said, I started working at Racked. I talked about this. I shot my first video.
Ann: I'm going to start playing the promo jingle. [Laughs]
Aminatou: I know, it's like a self-promo. But listen, I'm going to get vulnerable. It's like yeah, so I'm on-staff to make all these videos. Video is really scary. And so it was my first day just shooting all this stuff.
Ann: It was so good, PS. It was really so good.
Aminatou: Thank you. By the end of the day I felt better, but at the beginning of the day I was like I'm going to throw up on all these people. They just don't know what's going on. But I will tell you it's true what they say about power dressing. It's like running all around Manhattan and Brooklyn and people are honking and like "You look good, girl. What's going on, girl?"
Ann: No lie. No lie.
Aminatou: I was like no lie, I feel great. This is awesome. Always dress for success. Even when you feel like shit on the inside it's a little bit better.
Ann: Are you trying to say because I dressed outside like I felt on the inside I somehow had a negative hand in this election?
Aminatou: No, I'm not saying that you had a negative hand. No, I would never say that.
Aminatou: I'm just saying dress for the part you want.
Ann: It's true.
Aminatou: You know, also the other silver lining for all of this is just hearing from all of the women in our lives who are just . . .
Ann: Oh, so true.
Aminatou: As dedicated and invested as we are, and just being free. That was really awesome. The women I like to call my personal board of directors, one of them emailed this morning. She was like "Well, everything has gone to shit but guess what? We are still going to get paid." And it was this excertation about knowing your value and knowing your worth and just fighting is hell so all women get paid. And I was like yeah, because now I've got ACLU bills coming in. [Laughs]
Ann: Now I've committed to a monthly donation and this happened.
Aminatou: You know, it's like all of my little liberty and equality children. Got to feed everyone. But I love that. I love that that was her thought this morning. She was like "Hi? Hello? Women freelancers, how are we going to get paid this week?" And I was just like I love that. I was like yes, our lady web is strong.
Ann: It's true. And I don't know, I think relying on your personal lady web and the flood of text messages and the phone calls, that is also a nice silver lining. Like that reflection of the people who care about you and want to support you no matter what kind of despotic regime has just been elected.
Aminatou: [Sighs] We're sad, we're angry, but we're not going to stop. So that's the only good thing for me that's going to come out of this.
Ann: That's the headline: sad, angry, not going to stop.
Aminatou: Not going to stop. If this means a re-dedication to being braver and speaking out more and just going out on a limb and being there for your friends and your neighbors, hell yeah. I'm there.
Ann: Yeah. And doing stuff that aligns with your beliefs but probably makes you a little uncomfortable or maybe feels like "Oh, is this too far?" I think this is the moment for stuff like that.
Aminatou: Right. It's just like find that tiniest bit of courage that you have inside of you, because so many people feel that way. It's like I look at that Pantsuit Nation Facebook group that has been so amazing in the last two weeks. The thing about it to me that's the most shocking, I think when I joined that group there were like 10,000 people in it and last night it was over two million.
Ann: Totally. It's huge.
Aminatou: And a lot of people just express this belief of it was a closed Facebook group so people don't get trolled and it can be a safe space to talk about these issues. And I was like wow, all of these people thought that they were alone and lo and behold there are two million of you in this Facebook group alone. Look at what happens when you don't speak out and find out who your people are, you know?
Ann: Yeah, it's true. And I don't know the whole back-story behind that Facebook group but I do know in terms of my own life and my own career and my own friends and family there has never been a real long-term negative consequence to saying what I feel and what I believe in, like truthfully. There really hasn't.
Aminatou: [Sighs] God. America, get it together.
Ann: Oh. Yes, America get it together but also I am overcome with love for you and the other power women in my life and the men who support us, some of them. [Laughs]
Aminatou: [Laughs] Look at you, always protecting the men.
Ann: Listen, I am grateful for them! It's a different tier but . . .
Aminatou: I know. One man that has been really core to my life yesterday texted me to tell me . . . he was like "I didn't realize how much this country hated women and now I see it." Obviously very sad sentiment, but I'm like oh my god, one more eye. One more set of eyes is open. That meant a lot to me.
Ann: I also think that this is really formative. I've thought a lot about how the first election that I voted in was 2000 and the formative experience of just being like not only does it not always go your way sometimes, but there are extreme consequences for not getting involved.
Ann: And elections have consequences period. I don't know, it was sort of a demoralizing way to start my career as a voting citizen. But when I look back on it I'm like you know, that played a role along with a lot of other things in my life in making me care about this stuff. And so I don't know, there is a little part of me that is like for people who are experiencing their first election or maybe can't even vote yet, I hope this creates a whole generation of people who are like no, this is very important. I'm going to work on this. Every election matters, you know?
Aminatou: Totally, and I'm going to open my eyes and listen to the people around me and pay attention. You know, just pay attention to voices that are not always in the mainstream, like what they're saying and what their pain is. It's obviously going to suck. It's going to be four really hard years but we're all in this together, you know?
Ann: Oh my god.
Aminatou: And we do awesome things together, so I am looking forward to that part.
Ann: Yes. Okay, I feel like that is the point at which we sign off.
Aminatou: That is. That is.
Ann: It can't be topped.
Aminatou: It's only going to be topped by when we chain ourselves to the gate of a Planned Parenthood. You know this is where this contest is heading, right? [Laughs]
Ann: Listen, we now have portable recording devices so I love the idea of us broadcasting live changed to Planned Parenthoods on separate coasts.
Aminatou: Yeah, being like nobody touches Cecile and nobody touches our uteruses. [Laughs]
Ann: And I'll be like "Shh, can you stop? I'm trying to record a podcast here," while I'm chained to a fence.
Aminatou: I'm telling you, this is where Call Your Girlfriend activism is headed.
Ann: About to get so real.
Aminatou: Yeah, that's our episode of whatever that Netflix show is where they're in prison.
Ann: Orange is the New Black. Orange is the New Black is a very loaded show name right now. Like I can't really handle it.
Aminatou: Yeah, can't handle. Can't handle. God, I wish Barron could come on and tell us what he thinks.
Ann: Okay, I'm doing the sign-off. I can't even with that . . .
Aminatou: Let's do it. You can find us many places on the Internet, on our website callyourgirlfriend.com, download it anywhere you listen to your favorite podcasts, or on iTunes where we would love it if you left us a review. You can tweet at us at @callyrgf or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find us on Facebook -- ugh, just look it up yourself, don't leave us messages there, nobody reads those.
Aminatou: Never. Literally never. Just don't do it. Or on Instagram at callyrgf where we're having a ton of fun. You can even leave us a short and sweet voicemail at 714-681-2943. That's 714-681-CYGF. This podcast is produced by Gina Delvac.
Ann: Gina Delvac! Ow, ow! I'm going to go wash my face mask off now. I've had a face mask on this whole time.
Aminatou: See you on the Internet, booboo!
Ann: And on the streets.
Aminatou: See you on the gates of Planned Parenthood.
Ann: See you chained to the gates of Planned Parenthood.